Kat poses the question of finding personal time in the midst of parenting for Parenting University.
You're not getting the typical response of "Make sure to make 'me time'" from me. I have spent too many parenting years selfishly and unsuccessfully looking for ways to make me happy.
The last few years I've lived with far more intentionality and integrity. I've reformed my social grid drastically from accepting any and every invitation outside my home I could squeeze in, to carefully weighing the cost of each and choosing wisely. I used to believe that the more fun stuff I did, the better and more pleasant mother and person I'd be. It simply wasn't the case. I began to see my own children as getting in the way, and I think I was running away from any serious self examination. I'd been pouring my life into a sieve when I was under the illusion I was filling my bucket.
Eventually, I did not like the shallow person I was becoming and set out to change. I cleared my calendar and began to listen to the still small voice of God inside. He helped me to lay down all the "good things" to save for "the best things". With great trepidation and a deep seated fear of loneliness, I quit book and Bible studies, teaching/speaking, attending concerts, homeschool support groups, coffee/lunch out with friends, cooking/jewelry/craft type parties, and retreats altogether for a good long while. I even limited my time on the phone and at the gym. After some reclusive months, great opportunities opened which I'd never had before, and I was at last spiritually more prepared to accept. I know those opportunities to be directly connected to obedience to God.
The result of quitting the rat race? I've become introverted, introspective, sensitive, a better listener (not that I don't have much more to learn about listening), and more effective at everything I do. I work smarter. I understand the difference between cutting down the time tree with a sharp edged ax and beating it with a baseball bat.
As for personal time today? I refuse to be that frantically busy person with a chaotic life again. Now I don't require enormous amounts of personal time. It's built into the day even though my family is present. When my responsibilities of the moment are fulfilled and my children feel enough enjoyable connection to me to be at peace among themselves, I can steal away to my room and read, write, and most of all, just be and remain in the True Vine.
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